OUR SAY: Don't be silenced by new wave of
ONE of the least inventive ways to try and shut down conversations is by resorting to a derailing buzzword.
These are generally used by men who feel like they are losing the conversation and have nothing of substance or value to add to it.
This is also because the conversations being had are questioning things they already benefit from but are reluctant to admit to or part with, so instead they get angry and need to retaliate in a primal fashion, like an 'ug' for the 21st century.
I might add these conversations are not frivolous banter. They are movements, important conversations about making societal changes to ensure all women, races that aren't white, and the LGBTI community are no longer treated poorly. These degrees of poorly range from being made to feel irrelevant to being killed. Why some men get angry about putting a stop to this is perplexing.
So to help navigate the confusion out there here's a handy guide to those buzzwords and phrases (good and bad), and the intent behind them.
This is not a definitive or official list, there new words being hatched everyday in order to undermine or highlight problems within these conversations and movements, but the following are some of the most popular doing the rounds:
Snowflake: A white person may be called this if they publicly support minority groups by standing up to other white people and calling them out for being racist, sexist or for other forms of bigotry. This is the offender's way to tell a white person they have betrayed their whiteness by holding these views so are in turn 'soft' and 'weak'. Thankfully the number 'snowflakes' are growing by the day resulting in an avalanche of white and male supporters for movements like #blacklivesmatter and #metoo.
Virtue Signalling: This was initially a term used to define a person who jumps on a bandwagon suddenly to align themselves with a cause to score instant credibility. Some politicians and movie stars are good examples of this. But it is also being used to dismiss a person who has spent years chipping away fighting for equal rights or the environment in an attempt to discredit their efforts.
Leftie: This is a term often given to anyone who appears to support human rights or the environment.
Leftard: A step further by blending an out-of-date insult once used to describe people with a disability.
Social justice warrior: A loaded label given to people who vocally support and defend oppressed groups or the environment at any volume. They are all tarred with the same brush. They used to be called 'do-gooders'.
Cucks: short for cuckold (traditionally a man who doesn't satisfy the woman so she looks elsewhere and he acquiesces). In the case of the modern abbreviation Cucks this is applied to men who have betrayed the brotherhood by calling out their bad behaviour while backing women while they achieve equal rights. As an aside and demonstration of language inequality there are many English words to describe a man to highlight his cheating wife but no common words to describe a woman whose husband has cheated on her.
Triggered: This is what white males throw back at women who get vocal and challenge them about their human and equal rights. It's a term used to describe an emotional reaction that could occur if an event in someone's past could be reignited by something happening now. "Susan was gang-raped when she was 13 so listening to other women's stories about being raped might 'trigger' those repressed those memories.” These days it is applied to any woman who calls out any damaging male behaviour or patriarchal privilege whether online or on a picket line.
Feminist: This ol' chestnut simply means anyone who wants and supports equal rights for women. Attempts to discredit the term is generational, so much so there are many young women who don't like to call themselves feminists because they don't want men to think they have hair under their armpits and hate all men. Luckily lots of women don't care about that and the term is now just a reminder that women still do not have equal rights so will remain in the vernacular until they do.
Feminazi: This one was coined because 'feminist' started to lose its malice. Aligning the term with a the movement of a murderous male dictator is kind of ironic though.
Man-hater: On oldie but a goodie. This is a label given to a woman who points out the shortcomings of a patriarchal society. Because there are so many it can get annoying to men hence its common usage particularly among older men. Because the patriarchal system was invented by men to favour men, some don't want to give that up easily. Ironically many 'man-haters' have great male partners and lots of male friends but that's a moot point to the person accusing the 'man-hater'.
White privilege: This term is quite a positive one to come out of modern conversations as it was coined to remind white people of the privilege of being white. It is often referred to as invisible privilege because white people often refuse to acknowledge they have it. Probably one of the first successful terms that actually do incense white people, apart from being called racist, because of its effectiveness in reminding them.
Merit: This has a new meaning mainly because men believe they got to where they are today purely on individual merit and not because of thousands of years of patriarchy watching (and patting) their backs. This denial of privilege is why they expect women and black people to be able to do the same as them to achieve what they have without the assistance of a system geared in their favour.
Mansplaining: Another term coined to draw attention to a characteristic of men thought to be part of normal existence. That what men have to say is of the utmost importance because they always have the floor. Again having a memorable term to describe this helps to highlight invisible privilege. It is another of the few terms that rile men confirming its effectiveness and widespread use.
Man baby: A fully grown man who has freely enjoyed the benefits of patriarchal society but never realised that privileged position until it started to be highlighted. Instead of acknowledging this privilege exists he gets sulky and whiny about how he is being judged and treated unfairly simply because he's a man (in a man's world). Women (and black people) find this hilariously ironic so often refer to them as man babies to cope with the hypocrisy.
Toxic masculinity: This is a term used to describe the worst elements of a patriarchal society. A particular environment that exists within it that results in some males growing up to have abhorrent attitudes and behave in violent ways towards women, children and other men that challenge them ie. homosexuals. It is also known to contribute to instances of suicide, family murder/suicides and mass shootings in the US.
Not all men: This is a phrase used by men who haven't raped a woman (thank you) because it's still all about them. This is their way offering support to women as they fight to ensure they don't continue to be raped by other men. They believe because they are of stellar character that's enough.
Garden variety insults: Personal insults are the traditional way to attempt to silence women who freely use their vocal chords to express concerns about any topic that gets up a man's goat really.
Some of the long-standing insults include old, fat, ugly, witch, unrootable (because being rootable is the quintessential compliment from these guys), middle-aged, loud-mouthed you get the gist.
If you do happen to be young and attractive and can't be insulted through your physical appearance, you're not off the hook either as dumb bitch, slut or whore are interchangeable.
There are many other words and terms floating around from basic threats to kill, to inhumane and illegal descriptions of what they would like to do to women who "talk shit” ie. point out the problems of a patriarchal society.
Anyway hope this helps clear the air for the next time you are online or in a conversation with friends or strangers who try to and reduce you to something smaller using these words and terms. It's handy for women and girls to know what the vernacular is in these changing times.